My 4 New Year's Resolutions

My 4 New Year's Resolutions

A Promise to Our Planet.

This Fall Semester, I finally got a chance to take an environmental science class. Though I've always considered myself to be environmentally conscious, I realized that there is much more that I can do to help our planet and biodiversity. This year, I've decided that my New Year's Resolutions will be to help our Earth.

1) Refuse Styrofoam

One of the best things you can do for our ocean is to stop using Styrofoam. This means I will always bring my reusable mug to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. It's something so small that I can change in my own behavior that makes such a big difference.

2) Bring Reusable Shopping Bags Everywhere

I've been using reusable shopping bags for my groceries for years but now I carry them with me where ever I shop. Bringing your own bags allows you to refuse the waste of plastic or paper bags. I recently brought them with me to the mall for holiday shopping.

3) Stop Consuming Palm Oil

Elephants are my favorite animal and I knew that palm oil was hurting them but I didn't realize how bad it was. Palm oil is used in many products because it's cheap but there is a catch; to produce a surplus of palm oil, companies cut down the Asian Rain forest displacing millions of animals including elephants and orangutans. I raided my pantry and donated anything I had already bought with palm oil in the ingredients and now I check ingredients before I buy a product.

4) Consume less Meat

We watched Cowspiracy in class and the film changed my life. I don't consume a lot of meat to begin with because I've always felt that it's a lot of work when you cook for one but now I'm very conscious of what type of meat I'm consuming. Cows are one of the biggest polluters on our planet so consuming less beef means I'm lowering methane emissions. I haven't given up meat all together but I'm more aware of what I eat and how often I eat it.

Cover Image Credit: NASA

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​Here’s Why You Need To Talk To Your Representative About The Global Partnership For Education

If you view education as a right, then it’s time to demand its availability to those who can’t demand it for themselves.

Whether or not you view yourself as the kind of person who likes to get involved with politics and, well, the world, we no longer live in a time where we have the luxury of avoiding things. Maybe we never did, but today is the day to stop it once and for all.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) needs your help and your voices to make sure every child has access to education. You would think education is a right, something that shouldn’t have to be fought for, but that’s not the case for millions of children around the world.

RESULTS, a grassroots organization that fights for international aid and improved education and health for people around the world, estimates that 40% of the world’s children do not have the chance to acquire basic literacy and numeracy skills.

It’s ridiculous, right? But that’s where GPE comes in. This organization creates a model of education to reach children all areas of the world with help from international aid, private donations, and support from constituents like you and me.

In fact, GPE is the only organization to work with low-income countries that have gaps in their funding for necessary education programs. The support given to GPE from everyday people and countries that have the means to help make sure that every child has access to education and a chance to improve their life.

For the United States, it isn’t about what political parties support the resolutions introduced into the House and the Senate, especially in the case of GPE. This is because no one can deny that education is something every child needs. This cannot be stressed enough because while many people will agree with this, they will not be moved to doing something about it.

That’s where you come in. Representatives want to hear the voices of those who put them in office. How do they accomplish anything you want to see done, anything that you put them in office to do?

Until you make an effort to contact your representatives about the issues you care most about, you have no right to be upset about a representative’s failure to address what you want to see done. A good way to start is by contacting your representatives asking for them to cosign House Resolution 466, the Global Partnership for Education.

Don’t want to take the time to address this necessary and life-changing support for children around the world? I’ll make it easy.

Visit this link and put in your zip code to find your representatives. It takes less than a minute to fill out your information and send a pre-filled email asking them to support GPE.

If you feel like doing more, try weekly phone calls and emails. Tweets and Facebook posts. Ever tried ignoring a constituent who refuses to be ignored? That’s typically how we get things done.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Humme

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It's Time To Talk About Black Entitlement

In case you didn't realize that different races are held to different standards.

As my senior year of high school was in full swing and everything college was being thrown my way, the time to apply for scholarships arose. I had already decided which college I would attend, had done my FAFSA application and everything else that is vital to have as college approaches.

Living in a small and sheltered town, I had never really been exposed to racial conflict. I knew that there were different stereotypes that went along with the different races and all about our nation's history regarding race, but I had never fully experienced any situation in which race was a leading factor. When the word "race" or "black and white people" was said, the different standards that each of those races was and are held to, never came to mind.

I had never thought that white people were different from black people, Asians, Hispanics, or any other race. This was a naive and anything but accurate approach. As I was searching for scholarships and reading through qualifications, I was stunned at the number of scholarships there were that I was not qualified for simply because I was not black.

I was more than qualified in every other area they were requiring and searching for but I had no chance. This didn't seem fair. I had not stumbled upon one scholarship that required you to be of the white race to apply. I was mostly confused. Why was this race excluding other races and why was that acceptable?

In today's society, "white privilege" is a very common phrase. The connotation of the "battle of the races" is that white people are privileged, meaning they automatically receive unearned advantages and everyday perks. While black people are victims, suffering and having to work twice as hard for everything they have. This may very well have been the case 20 years ago. But today, a different race is taking on the privileged reputation. This is what we call black entitlement.

To explain this controversial statement, the reason I say black entitlement is so prominent in our society today is mostly due to, in my opinion, the accustomed nature of the black stereotype. The idea that the past cannot remain in the past. It is accepted for blacks to play the “victim” role and to point fingers for issues that were resolved years ago.

In our society today, it’s okay for blacks to have exclusive scholarships, holidays and organizations. But if the white race were to accustom even one of these, it would be racist and discriminative. They would be known as advantages and privileges, not opportunities.

This isn't an argument on which sides should be taken. It isn't whites against blacks because, in the end, this is what statements like this are meant to end. They are meant to end the long-term feud and battle of the races. They are meant to end the different standards that black and white people are held to. Race shouldn't be what sets us apart. It shouldn't be what determines acceptance into an organization or being rewarded a very deserving scholarship.

The past is recognized. It is recognized that mistakes were made and things have changed, so the black race should realize that as well and stop repeating past mistakes they have fought so hard to overcome.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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